Mississippi manufacturers help state reach record low unemployment

WEST POINT, Miss. (WCBI) – A new contract for Navistar Development means more jobs in the Golden Triangle.

This is just one of the manufacturers across Mississippi helping the state reach a record-low unemployment rate in March.

“The Golden Triangle is booming. It’s not just here in West Point. It’s in Columbus, Starkville but it goes north of here, west of here, east of here,” said Governor Tate Reeves.

00020mts00 00 26 07still001With business booming across Mississippi, Reeves the unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, the lowest in state history.

“Mississippi is open for business. Our people are getting up, going to work, and providing for themselves and providing for their families,” Reeves.

Just 16 years ago more than 1,200 people in Clay County lost their jobs after the closing of Bryan Foods.

Reeves said the people around the Magnolia State and Golden Triangle have been working hard over the years to bring industries back to west point.

“When Bryan Foods announced they were moving operations and ultimately closing. There was a lot of concern in this community, but what we have seen is because of the workers you have seen here today. Because of the workforce we have in Mississippi, more companies have backfilled those jobs and it’s been a great thing to see,” said Reeves.

Reeves said lower unemployment numbers started with workforce development.

“In Mississippi, we are investing in our people through lifelong learning and our people are getting better and higher paying jobs because of it,” said Reeves.

West Point Director of Community Development, Lisa Klutts, said those investments are being felt right here and now.

“Local industries like Navistar, and Yokohama, partnering with the community to bring in jobs is just great for the area. Not just for West Point but for the whole Golden Triangle. We see growth in all areas. From retail, restaurants, and people moving to the area for jobs,” said Klutts.

Klutts said more people working also big impact for mom and pop shops.

“This is a great thing not just for big industries like Navistar but for small business owners to relocate to West Point. They may find that this is the place for them,” said Klutts.

As for the next steps to take, U.S. Senator Roger Wicker said big companies making products in the Magnolia State will leave a big footprint on the economy.

“What’s next for Mississippi is more of this, and what’s next for West Point is another 400 jobs here at Navistar in the very location,” said Wicker.

The March numbers for each county have not been updated on the Mississippi Department of Employment Security’s website, as of April 24.

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